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Starr 071226-0866 Rhamnus californica.jpg
Rhamnus californica ssp californica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Rhamnus
Subgenus: Frangula
Species: R. californica
Binomial name
Rhamnus californica

Rhamnus californica (syn. Frangula californica (Eschsch.) A.Gray), is called coffeeberry because its berries contain seeds which look like coffee beans—it is also called California buckthorn. It is a common plant native to California and southwestern Oregon.


There are two subspecies:

  • Rhamnus californica subsp. californica - widespread in western California. Fruit with two seeds; twigs red; leaves with conspicuous veins.
  • Rhamnus californica subsp. occidentalis - northern California and southwest Oregon, on serpentine soils. Fruit with three seeds; twigs brown; leaves with inconspicuous veins.



Cultivars include:

  • R. californica 'Eve Case' - to 10 ft. tall by wide
  • R. californica 'Leatherleaf' - black-green foliage
  • R. californica 'Mound San Bruno' - lower and compact